Meaning 'Love of One's Fate', Amor Fati is a Latin phrase that describes an attitude in which we can embrace everything that happens in life - and feel content with our reality.
The concept has been used by philosophers such as Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius - and Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote:
"I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negotiation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer."
Filled with rich shades of saffron and turmeric, alongside modern digital prints, the collection was inspired by 10 days I spent ‘off the grid’ in a remote desert on the Indian/Pakistan border earlier this year.
In search of inspiration, focus and the creative magic one gets when travelling on your own and exposing yourself to the "NEW", I wanted to experience that feeling of trusting in the unknown , trusting in discovering somewhere new and meeting people from a culture totally different from my own, taking me completely out of my comfort zone and forcing me out of the lifestyle that most of us lead on a day to day basis; where little is left to chance. I chose a desert in the far west of Gujarat; landing in a tiny cessna plane, I was the only caucasian Australian woman there.
Living in clay huts with subsistence farmers and loomers, I spent the days learning about the region's rich textile, spice and jewel trade history. Fascinating, arid and isolated, the journey crystallised my inspiration for this collection. At one point when I was standing in the middle of the Indian desert my memory took me back to when I was 16 and climbing Uluru, there was a moment of timelessness - and total connection to something bigger.
The prints featured in this collection are digital recreations of ancient rugs and artefacts that I traded with the herders who were living off the desert land - they are strikingly beautiful and my interperation of the journey I took through the desert and walked a path less travelled. Back in Brisbane I collaborated again with acclaimed artist Claudia Husband, who brought the traditional patterns, weaves and embroidery to life in the collection, via digital format.
I took home a great respect of the role fate plays in our lives, and an appreciation of what can happen when fear is replaced by faith and trust - and knowing that we can be safe walking into the abyss. Amor faiti.
Every year before the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, we photograph the collection that will appear on the runway. And so for this year's shoot, it was no surprise that our photographer, Sam Thies, chose to lead us across expansive countryside to a vast lakeside property to capture the campaign images with Dallys model Samantha Cannon. Breathtakingly beautiful and quintessentially Australian, the location was literally on the other side of the earth to where the seed of inspiration for this collection had been planted, but also somehow conveyed the sense of vastness, and completeness, that we have when we are connected to our surroundings.
I can't wait to share the collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in only a few weeks!
Luxury, sustainably sourced textiles are one of my passions; when it comes to creating a garment, the story behind the fabric is just as important as the concept behind the design. So when I embarked upon a range of leather wear for Tengdahl's A/W 2015 collections, I wanted to find the softest, most beautiful leather - one that has been farmed and created ethically and sustainably - to shape my range.
Located in the small South Cantebury town of Timaru - one of the most breathtakingly green places on earth - New Zealand Light Leathers are deer leather specialists. Since 1973 they have been working with the world’s leading luxury fashion houses, supplying fine deer leather.
Each deer hide meets the highest standards of quality and consistency, ensuring each garment created from the resulting leather is of exceptional beauty and longevity. Their team of expert tanners and technicians craft each skin through more than 30 steps; and this is apparent when you wear any of the leather garments from this collection - the nappa features an incredibly luxurious finish, and is rich of colour.
This season I have designed a range of skirts, tops and jackets in fine deer nappa. To experience one of these items, visit our stores or shop at www.tengdahl.com/jackets
Watch the crafting process behind the leather creation:
While sketching out the initial incarnations of my winter 2015 collection, I encountered a reoccuring image of elegant cherry blossom branches, heavy in a bloom of exquisite petals. Upon researching the ancient Japanese 'sakura' tree, its significance immediately resonated with me. I wanted this collection to speak of restraint, femininity and a subtle sensuality - a tribute to the woman as she moves into maturity (at whatever age that may be - from her 20's through to 60's or beyond) and flourishes into the confident, self-aware woman she is destined to be. The cherry blossom certainly represented that, and so I chose it as the symbol for this year's winter collection. The idea of growing more beautiful with every passing year is often foreign to our modern western psyche - but something we should all share an interest in, as growth and age is a commonality promised to us all.
As I began to articulate the form and lines of the garments in the range, I commenced work on the print concept with Brisbane artist Claudia Husband, designing a bespoke cherry blossom motif that would feature throughout the collection. The resulting print is a wearable peice of art; unique, versatile; echoing the collection's purpose perfectly. It will be available in limited edition release for Tengdahl Winter 2015.
In the collection, high necklines are contrasted by subtle details, such as a slit that gives a glimpse of skin at the back of a garment, only seen when the top or dress moves with the body. Ostrich feather, sequins and chiffon create texture and movement while silk, super soft deer skin leather, cashmere and jersey add functional, long-lasting luxury.
Cherry blossom trees remind us that after weathering life’s colder seasons, we return time and time again, blooming more richly than ever; opening ourselves to the sun. The collection is available in Tengdahl boutiques and online at www.tengdahl.com
Influenced by Julie’s recent travels to Europe, India and Asia, freesoul layers luxury French fabrics against exotic artisan craft embellishments hand picked by the designer; no two garments are exactly the same.
The resulting collection is sensual, rich, exotic and explores the design commonalities shared between cultures and locations across the world; fashion, food and music through to art and architecture.
“It has a very free-spirited vibe; it’s about walking your own path and being able to merge and absorb different cultural influences,” Julie said.
Within the East-meets-West mosaics of fabrics, Julie has also interwoven a series of limited edition printed fabrics that resulted from a collaboration with award-winning Brisbane artist, Claudia Husband.
In a year that saw Julie give wings to her self-described “inner nomad”, she wanted to bring a unique, Brisbane centric touch to the eclectic range, giving a nod to her local area, West End’s, melting-pot identity – and creative integrity.
“All of us are a patchwork, a collage, in a sense – and so is the collection, filled with imperfections, rips, colour bleeds and layers,” Julie said.
SHOP FREESOUL HERE
Explore the contrast between softness and strength, light and dark, woman and girl, warrior and goddess with Tengdahl's A/W2014 collection. The range reflects the dichotomy that exists within every female. From actresses and artists through to business leaders and iconic female politicians, designer Julie Tengdahl tells the stories of women she has observed over the past 30 years in the fashion industry; and how they chose to reveal, or conceal, these juxtapositions to the world through their clothing and adornments.
Using Tengdahl's trademark silks, chiffon, embellishments and bespoke Sophie Hallette lace - made in France exclusively for Tengdahl - the range celebrates the intelligent, sensual, confident woman who years for longevity - and values Australian made designer fashion.
Forever Young is our spring/summer 2013 collection. Launched at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane, the collection reveals a special series of fabrics that were 10 years in the making. To create the fabrics for the range, Julie collaborated with artist Jacqui Conias, channelling their decade long working relationship into a series of new luxury textiles that offer more than meets the eye.
The limited edition fabrics used throughout the collection are comprised of Ms Conias’ insightful works of art, converted into patterns and printed on silk and georgette. The connection between art and fashion is intimate and powerful, both providing women with a meaningful way to conveying who they are, what they stand for and who they want to be.
Viewed from a distance, the patterns appear as tiny dots, but on closer inspection reveal themselves as tiny reproductions of Jacqui’s portraits. The portraits were auctioned earlier this year to raise funds for the purchase of a milk bank freezer for the RBWH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which saved Jacqui's daughter’s life after she was born premature at 27 weeks. Read more about the significance of the digital prints here.
Exclusive to Tengdahl, the bespoke prints also combine intricate hand written quotes to form modern geometric designs that equally intrigue and inspire - alongside Tengdahl’s signature lace, silk and luxuriously embellished textiles.
The range provides an alternative to 'fast fashion' trends with enduring designs that offer a luxurious fit as well as longevity.
"Now more than ever its important for women to understand where their fashion comes from; how the fabrics are made and sourced, and the quality and conditions under which the pieces are made – there’s a significance behind each garment’s story; how it’s conceived and crafted,” Julie said.
View Tengdahl's spring/summer collection on the runway here.
Draw inspiration from timeless classics; a signature jacket, enduring smoking suit and chic simplicity of capris - with a colourful, modern twist that merges femininity with functionality.
From lightweight travel jackets and sheer emerald green blouses through to multicolour sequined wool skirts and capri pants in a lollypop palette, experience Tengdahl’s trademark sophistication for leisure, corporate and after five styling.
When the models hit the runway at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival next month for the launch of my S/S collection, freesoul, it will be the culmination of a 10-month process that has taken me literally around the world.
I first showed my label on the runway at the RAQ awards in 1996 and while I have streamlined the collection development process over the past two decades, the months leading up to MBFF always bring the sense of vulnerability and self-doubt that inevitably comes with being exposed on a creative level.
At this time every year, I reflect on my purpose as a designer: am I challenging myself? Am I doing my clients justice with this collection? Am I being innovative while staying true to my roots, my brand? It’s facing a fear of rejection or criticism; it leaves you open and exposed, but it makes you stronger.
Creativity doesn’t thrive in the comfort zone! I do my best work when I'm on the precipice - I have clarity and ideas seem to flow.
Which is why, in the midst of the 2014 collection’s development, I went skydiving. The skydive was a birthday gift I received last year; something on my bucket list that I had put off, waiting for the right moment. As the plane climbed high above the beautiful northern NSW landscape, I didn’t experience any of the nerves or tension that I expected to feel, just pure adrenaline. Completely surrendering to the free fall, I felt suprisingly safe.
It was a truly exhilarating experience, and it was interesting to notice how clear and creative I felt returning to the workroom the following Monday to put the finishing touches on the collection samples.
The collection development process began in my West End workroom in October 2013. Following a successful collaboration with acclaimed Brisbane artist Jacqui Conias in 2013, I wanted to interlace a limited edition range of bespoke prints into the 2014 collection, featuring digital reproductions of emerging artist Claudia Husband’s hypnotic prints. I was thrilled to have Claudia on board and we began looking at ways to integrate symbolism and her existing prints into fabric patterns earlier this year.
I set off on a global resourcing and ‘trend-gathering’ trip to Europe, while working with the world’s oldest lace mill – Sophie Hallette – to create a bespoke lace design exclusively for Tengdahl’s S/S collection. Three months later, I fulfilled a life long dream to have an Indian sabbatical, venturing off for four weeks of meditation, exploration and meetings with local artisans, learning about their ancient craft traditions and collecting beautiful hand loomed embroidery in vibrant colours.
Back in my workroom, and filled with experiences, observations and inspirations gathered on my travels, the collection’s direction began to crystallise. Its aesthetic is rich, sensual, exotic and a tapestry of cultures and design elements. It’s bold but earthy and more exuberant than my past two collections. And I love it!
Meanwhile, Claudia returned with some beautiful textile print concepts, which we finalised and sent off to our Australian fabric manufacturer to have strike-offs created. Our talented pattern maker and seamstress Heather began to meticulously lift traditional embellishments and embroidery from the artisan fabrics I had collected on my travels, transferring them onto the luxury European fabrics that had arrived along with our new bespoke Sophie Hallette lace (which I have been wearing in our concept designs for a few months now and absolutely adore)! These elements combined to form the freesoul collection.
As we near the date for our S/S photo shoot and MBFF model fittings, the collection is nearly completed and, once again, I am enchanted by the process that brought these designs from vague imaginings to beautiful, wearable pieces something which almost seems to happen of its own volition, as though I am both a bystander and active participant in its evolution.
Above: Julie briefs the face of her S/S14 collection, Samantha Cannon, on the collection ahead of the freesoul campaign shoot
The response to my MBFF collections in recent years has been incredible, and I must admit to feeling the pressure of a high bar this year! But I am so proud of the creative integrity and melting-pot of local talents that have gone into creating it. And in that respect, it is already a success. Breathe…
Julie bought a series of beautiful artisan cashmere scarves while she was in Jaipur, India - each a peice of art featuring hand loomed embroidery in vibrant colours.
Our workroom manager, Heather, has meticulously lifted the embroidery peices from the scarves and transfered them to our new A/W jacket, forming the detail on Julie's new Audrey weave jacket design. The embroidery injects vibrant colour, texture and shows how beautifully east and western design aesthetic can be merged.
Inspired by the classic Chanel jacket shape - with a modern twist through body-shaping side panels - the embroidered jacket is a limited edition peice, and each design is different as no two scarves are exactly the same. The jacket is available at our Emporium store for $829 (call 3257 0569) and can be purchased by phone and couriered overnight.
Whether you are embarking on your own journey of motherhood or you’re just planning to lavish your own mother with lots of love this weekend, mothers are a part of our history, biology and often have lots to teach us.
This month Emporium Connecte caught up with fashion designer, businesswoman and mother, Julie Tengdahl, to discuss career, motherhood and just how to juggle it all…
What do you love most about what you do?
After 30 years I still get a thrill from being on the shop floor; seeing how clients interact and respond to designs, and tailoring the collections to suit them. Whether I’m in the workroom sketching a design, or at one of the stores styling a client, the power of making a woman feel truly beautiful has never lost its joy for me. This career has offered me the chance to travel, meet amazing people and constantly channel my creativity into something tangible.
Why did you start in your industry?
My mother was a seamstress and some of my first memories are of playing beneath her sewing machine, collecting remnants of fabric. After school I studied fashion design at MSIT. I worked in fashion design in London and when I returned to Australia I took a job as an aerobics instructor while trying to establish myself in the Brisbane fashion industry. I noticed active wear at the time was boring so I created a range of sports wear for my aerobics class, and when sales took off, the range funded my first collection as a fashion designer.
You are a Mother, Business owner and a Woman, how do you fuse these roles together and maintain balance?
At work, I have adopted a business model that suits my ideal life balance. When I’m at home with family, I try to be present and accessible, while also encouraging their independence and autonomy. I’ve also surrounded myself with incredibly capable women who take my breath away with their balancing abilities. And I avoid burn-out by having time to myself occasionally; anything from a quick yoga session on the Kangaroo Point cliffs as the sun rises on a Sunday morning – through to an overseas sabbatical like the one I just completed in India. As a family we support each other through the ups and downs, and encourage each other to pursue whatever brings fulfilment and happiness as individuals. My relationships with each child has evolved as they’ve grown older, and now that my two eldest children are pursuing their own careers I love hearing their thoughts about the business, and drawing inspiration from their creative contributions to the label as well.
How has being a mother helped you in the way you run your business?
After having children I developed a more intuitive approach to designing and managing my business. I backed myself and trusted my ‘gut instinct’ more than I had before. My decisions are clearer, I am more efficient in my use of time and I have a better grasp of the big picture. I don’t dwell on the insignificant stuff that would have had me obsessing or stressing at work in the past. Rather than holding us back or making us complacent, I think this perspective actually makes it easier to take risks, because as long as your family are happy and healthy, there’s nothing much in life to fear. Fashion design can be very egocentric, very tense, so letting go of that fear has meant I’ve done things that I wouldn’t have otherwise done if I hadn’t relinquished the pressure I placed on ‘proving’ myself.
What is the most surprising thing you have discovered about yourself since becoming a mother?
A level of confidence that I never had before. Bravado and self-doubt was replaced by a deeper belief in myself. Motherhood highlights how little we know – and yet simultaneously how much we are capable of, and how much we have to offer our community.
What are your tips for women who are juggling career and motherhood?
It gets easier. Follow your intuition; both at work and at home. And let go of the expectation that life, motherhood, work, relationships are meant to be simultaneously perfect. Enjoy the crazy, ever-changing, imperfectness of it all.
What has been your proudest career achievement?
Keeping garment production in Brisbane. The label is still produced in our West End workroom, by local dressmakers and machinists. The financial cost of producing locally is outweighed by the fact that it keeps jobs in the local fashion industry and enables me to be responsive to the feedback and needs of my clients. It also means I can retain high quality standards, have a quick turn around and stay in control of my supply chain - ensuring all garments and their materials are sourced and produced ethically. I am so proud that the label is still 100% Australian made.
Define your style…
My style has multiple personality disorder! I dress to reflect different aspects of my identity as a woman; some days it is feminine and elegant, other days it is practical and perfunctory – or sensual, bold and colourful. It always has to be effortless, comfortable, simple and thoughtfully designed!
Click here to read the full article. Republished with permission.
Founded 120 years ago by Eugene Hallette, the Caudry-based lace mill fell into the hands of Eugene's wife when he suddenly died in 1898. At the time it was called 'Etablissements Veuve Eugene Hallette ('Widow Eugene Hallette's Company').
Under her management, the mill thrived and was passed onto Ettienne Hallette, who expanded the company and opened its Paris office in 1967. He renamed the brand 'Sophie' after his neice.
Over the past century, generations of craftspeople have worked Sophie Hallette's looms, weaving delicate lace and tulle from several thousand miles of thread, 5,000 shuttles and 12 tons of cast iron. Commissioned by fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior and Alexander McQueen, Sophie Hallette lace has come to represent the pinacle of lace manufacturing.
Sophie Hallette is now managed by the third generation of Hallette owners. Combining its rich tradition and expertise with modern methods of production, the lace house holds true to its artistic craftsmanship, with post-production quality checks taking up to 15 hours of meticulous examination a single peice of lace.
After nearly 30 years of using the mill's lace in her designs, Julie Tengdahl began working with Sophie Hallette designers in 2013 to sketch a lace that would suit the Australian climate and provide the flexibility and wearability Australian women desire in their clothes.
The lace was then hand loomed in Sophie Hallette's antique Caudry mill and arrived in Australia, exclusive to Tengdahl, in March 2014. The lace appears in Julie's current A/W14 collection, in the form of the Sophie dress (pictured above and below).
Own a little peice of Sophie Hallette history here.
Pia du Pradal, Dale Olsson and Julie Tengdahl (far right) wearing the Sophie Hallette Dress at the Uncovering The Brisbane Look launch. Photo: Warren Jopson
Last month I set off to India for a trip that has mixed business with a personal journey. I am currently writing from an Ashram in Jaipur. On the design front, I am here to meet with textile designers and organisations that provide local women with opportunities to use their traditional skills to have financial autonomy through fashion design and manufacturing. Amidst the terrible stories of slave labour and substandard working conditions that we have heard of recently, my Australian friends who work in India have urged me to come over and see the ‘other side’ of female-focused industries.
There is a growing awareness amongst organisations over here that they must provide women with opportunities to use their talents in a safe, fair and financially rewarding environment. While these businesses only comprise a small segment of the overall manufacturing industry, my hope is that with growing awareness in western countries, they can create a demand for ethically made textiles and garments.
If there is a demand for ethically produced fashion, and western businesses and consumers are willing to pay for it, the Indian industry will improve working conditions and remuneration in order to obtain the lucrative western contracts. Amongst some beautiful artisan pieces, I will be brining back some amazing fabric made by women in Bangalore, and cashmere shawls from the tribes of Rajasthan; known as ‘the land of Kings’. Each piece is unique - I can’t wait to share them.
Between work meetings I have had the opportunity to see the other side of Indian life. My current stay in an Ashram has involved 4 hours of yoga each day, as well as chanting and meditation. Sheryas, another Ashram that I stayed at outside Bangalore, was like a scene from Eat Pray Love. Having just finished A/W and in the process of launching into preparations for the S/S range and Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, this time has been an invaluable opportunity to switch off to the noise of everyday life and restore the energy that, as women, we constantly give to others.
Much has been written about the female sabbatical recently (both personal and professional types) and I’m glad it is moving past the typecast of self-indulgent western whim. Women are givers, carers, lovers and nurturers. But often, very little is left for them - until it’s too late. Emotional or mental breakdown, or physical illness, often present themselves. Sometimes we care too much about what others think; worried that we’ll seem selfish for taking a short time out for reflection or to nurture ourselves. While staying in a country filled with women who often have to fight for the right to education, fair employment, reproductive rights or the ability to just walk the street safely, we’re able to put our concerns of day-to-day life in perspective, while also appreciating how far women in many countries still have to fight on a grass roots level to achieve equality.
Most of all, India has shown me the magnificence of the female spirit; it’s ability to endure and love through adversity, to show strength and resilience while pushing boundaries and slowly but surely forcing our communities to cherish and value all we have to offer. With the support of their communities and the international community, the women in India have a future of prosperity and power. We can’t hide from the beauty of the world or the raw honesty of a country such as this. It’s visceral and captivating; provoking internal reflection, and external observation.